Rainforest Action Network chief Brune to take Sierra Club helm in March
After 18 years under the direction of Carl Pope, the nation's oldest and most well-known environmental organization, the Sierra Club, has named Michael Brune as its new executive director.
The Sierra Club torch will be passed to 38-year-old Brune, who, for the last seven years, has led the sometimes controversial Rainforest Action Network (RAN), a San Francisco-based environmental organization that runs corporate accountability campaigns to fight mountaintop coal mining, industrial palm plantations, and of course, destruction of rainforests.
After a transition in March, Brune will begin guiding Sierra Club staff and operations and lead the Club through what longtime executive director Carl Pope called, "the most exciting and critical period in our history."
"Mike Brune is exactly what the Sierra Club and the environmental movement need right now," said Pope. "I have enormous confidence that he will lead the Sierra Club with vigor, passion, and a steady hand."
Under Brune's leadership, Rainforest Action Network won more than a dozen key commitments from America's largest corporations, including Citi, Home Depot, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Kinko's, Boise, and Lowe's. But even using strong-arm tactics, Brune's approach usually left his adversaries feeling that they'd been treated with respect.
"We had a mantra at RAN to be hard on the issues, but soft on the people involved," said Brune. "That's really just another way of saying that when you take on a company about corporate responsibility, it's possible to be confrontational and collaborative at the same time."
Despite his hard-nosed style of direct action at RAN, Brune believes he is a perfect fit for the 118-year-old Sierra Club. "This is an organization that's equally determined to protecting the planet's last, best places and to having a great time exploring and enjoying those places," Brune says. Watch a video message from the incoming Sierra Club chief, Brune:
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